National Grid and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) announced the launch of a partnership that will develop innovative energy projects and create economic opportunities on the Medical Campus, with an eye to positioning the Buffalo Niagara region as a global leader in both health and energy innovation.
National Grid’s Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Jim Madej addressed a crowd gathered under a tent and a cluster of umbrellas. The event was held behind two historic brick homes at 941 and 945 Washington Street, the site of a planned community education center and energy demonstration project called the Model Energy Home. Madej spoke about Buffalo’s legacy of energy innovation and how he envisioned “a very bright future to go along with a very bright history”, a fitting comment after last week’s successful National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference in Buffalo.
The National Grid and BNMC partnership is focusing on five major opportunity areas, including cost cutting energy-efficiency measures, transportation, and economic growth. With over 8,500 employees now and expected growth to more than 17,000 by 2016, BNMC President and CEO Matt Enstice acknowledged that energy infrastructure and transportation as the two key factors that could derail the success of the Medical Campus. Enstice called the partnership with National Grid an opportunity to develop a global model for how energy will be delivered. The whole idea, said Enstice, grew out of a conversation about how to develop a new parking garage on the Campus.
The buildings will be retrofitted with cost-cutting energy efficiency technologies so Buffalo residents can learn how to implement these technologies in their own homes and workplaces.
The historic buildings on Washington, located directly behind the Allen Medical Campus Metro station, will be a showcase of energy conservation and used as a community education center. Madej said that the buildings, which were built in 1915, would be retrofitted with cost-cutting energy efficiency technologies that would allow Buffalo residents to learn how to implement these technologies in their own homes and workplaces. Enstice reinforced the idea that “this is not a one-off project” but instead will be integrated into a holistic energy platform that only a site like the Medical Campus could support. He referred to the solar panels and electric car chargers at the Innovation Center on Ellicott Street, a LEED-certified building, as proof that the BNMC is prioritizing leading-edge energy and environmental efforts and closed with the promise that “there is more to come”.
Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Chris Collins both addressed the crowd with references to the need for partnerships between corporations, non-profits, and governments. Mayor Brown offered the full support of the City of Buffalo. Collins also acknowledged the tremendous accomplishments of the late Herbert Hauptman and Wilson Greatbatch, and called the Medical Campus “the envy of a lot of people”.
The partnership between National Grid and the BNMC is envisioned as a driver for job creation and economic growth, and was described as the first time that a global utility had partnered with an academic health center. Enstice stressed the local and global connections that would come from the collaboration. “The only way to do it is with everyone in this room.”